Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create an account.

Chris Hennes

"Around My French Table" by Dorie Greenspan

Recommended Posts

Trolling Amazon.com for new cookbooks that I desperately need I ran across an upcoming release from Dorie Greenspan that sounded like it might be interesting: Around My French Table is set for an October 8, 2010 release. From the publisher's description:

When Julia Child told Dorie Greenspan, “You write recipes just the way I do,” she paid her the ultimate compliment. Julia’s praise was echoed by the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times, which referred to Dorie’s “wonderfully encouraging voice” and “the sense of a real person who is there to help should you stumble.”

Now in a big, personal, and personable book, Dorie captures all the excitement of French home cooking, sharing disarmingly simple dishes she has gathered over years of living in France. Around My French Table includes many superb renditions of the great classics: a glorious cheese-domed onion soup, a spoon-tender beef daube, and the “top-secret” chocolate mousse recipe that every good Parisian cook knows—but won’t reveal.

Anyone know anything more? Of course I already own Wolfert's definitive "The Cooking of Southwest France" and I'm hoping that this will fit in nicely with that and Mastering the Art. I've had good luck with many of Greenspan's other recipes, but didn't realize she might be an authority on French cuisine.


NOTE: Now that our copies have started to arrive, we are posting about the recipes here!


Edited by Chris Hennes Added note at bottom (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've seen mention of this book, too, and would be interested in knowing more about the contents--mostly recipes? technique? Truth is, I have a dozen plus cookbooks that cover this territory and I'm reluctant to add others unless they tell me something new. But Dorie has co-authored books with the likes of Daniel Boulud and Pierre Herme, so I have no doubt that she has good recipes and secrets to share.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hello and apologies for not jumping into this conversation earlier. Here's a little background on the new book.

There are more than 300 recipes (about 60 are desserts) and they cover the range from little nibbles, Pierre Herme's olive sables, terrific salmon rillettes and gougeres (the duo are my favorites with drinks, to ‘real’ main courses, like beef daube, chicken-in-a-pot (on the book’s cover), lamb tagine with apricots and almonds, vegetable pot-au-feu, linguine with nuts and dried fruit, shrimp with cellophane noodles and Parisian gnocchi. In between, there are soups and salads (there’s a fabulous all-white salad made with mushrooms, celery, apples and a yogurt dressing) and vegetables and first courses of all kinds -- the Tuna-Mozzarella Pizza from Yves Camdeborde of Le Comptoir is great. In short, it’s a soup-to-nuts, as well as a meat and fish and pasta to cake cookbook with lots of stories and about 100 pictures.

The recipes come from my ‘other’ life, the one in France, so it’s the food that I cook at home in Paris and the food my friends cook -- most of it is what I think of as 'elbow-on-the-table food'. There are recipes from all over France, some from chefs at simple bistros, some from people at the markets I love, many from friends and lots and lots from my own kitchen.

The mix of recipes can only be called 'eclectic' -- the word is so overused, but it fits here. There are traditional recipes, for sure (I think the Cheese-Topped Onion Soup is fabulous), but there are lots and lots of modern and very surprising recipes, for example, a Basque tortilla (think frittata or omelet) made with potato chips (this from a Michelin-starred chef); my friend Gerard's Mustard Tart, made with tomatoes in summer and steamed carrots and leeks in winter; a burger with capers, cornichons and sun-dried tomatoes mixed with the beef (it's become my house burger in the States); pork braised with lemongrass and coconut milk; chicken roasted in a Dutch oven (with a piece of bread to serve as the 'plate' for the liver -- the cook's treat); and “cookies” that are rolled out like pie dough, baked in one raggedy-edged piece and then brought to the table that way, so that everyone can break off a hunk. (They're called Salted Butter Break-Ups, although when they were made at a preview lunch at Book Expo somebody called them Salt-Butter Crack!)

And there are the stories ... Stories about the market, about how people eat in France, about how to shop, how to serve cheese and even how to complain and get what you want.

Here's what the book isn't: It's not Escoffier. It's not Mastering the Art of French Cooking. It's not a by-the-rules book. It's not a textbook. It's too personal to be any of those things.

The book as my look at what people are cooking in France today. It's a very personal book, my editor thinks it's my most personal to date.

Thanks so much for being interested in my newest baby. Scream if there's more I can tell you.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My pre-order just shipped, so I guess the book is out early! Looking forward to seeing what's in there, thanks for the details, Dorie.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Mine shipped too. I am glad, because after reading Dorie's post it would've been really hard to wait. Olive sables! Tuna pizza! Mustard tart! This is going to be a really good week.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Dorie, thanks so much for the details. This is definitely not your run-of-the-mill rehash of bistro standards (which I love, but enough...) and it sounds like a good read, too. My copy is ordered, too.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My copy arrived this morning. I haven't started cooking anything from it yet, so of course these are just some first impressions...

Wow, this book is big. I don't know what I was expecting (I didn't pay any attention to the dimensions on Amazon), but this is definitely not a lightweight. It stands easily two inches taller than Wolfert's The Cooking of Southwest France, and is about the same thickness. It is a very well-bound book. I cannot stand cookbooks that don't stay open to the page I am on when I am cooking, so one that does is always very welcome. It even manages to stay open to the correct page near the beginning and end of the book, which is no small feat. I know that seems like a stupid niggling detail, but I get very frustrated with cookbooks that change the pages for me!

Around my French Table.jpg

Of course the photography is beautiful (done by Alan Richardson), no surprise there. The book feels very much like CIA Pro-Chef in its layout and general stylistic cues. Overall the design is quite nice, if a bit unexpected given the "rustic" feel of the cover design. The actual design of the pages feels very modern to me, while the cover appears to be going for the same sort of aesthetic as Wolfert's book (I keep referencing back to Wolfert because she is my touchstone for French cooking, that's the book I've spent the most time with).

I was surprised at how short the introduction was: just four quick pages and you're into the recipes. Each recipe is led into by two or three paragraphs giving its background, etc. The instructions seem at first glance to be extremely clear, though that's hard to tell for sure just reading through a few recipes.

Overall, it's a gorgeous book, and there seem to be a LOT of promising recipes in here. I guess it's time to get cooking!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Are the recipes in weights?

Doesn't look like it. You can look inside the book on Amazon.com.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No weights in the recipes for many publishing-related reasons -- most of them the same as the ones we discussed in the Baking From My Home to Yours thread.

As some of you know, I would love to be able to have all of my recipes appear in volume measures, American weights and metric measures, but it just isn't possible and wasn't possible with AMFT.

That said, I think that the weight issue is less crucial in cooking recipes.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Am baking the filling for the Mushroom & Shallot Quiche tonight for a party, but using my own pie dough (with a combination duck fat and butter dough). It smells wonderful in the oven right now!

I've been looking through the book and there are so many things I want to start cooking immediately. Eggplants and cherry tomatoes are in full swing right now in Texas, so going to hit the farmers' market tomorrow for the Eggplant Tartine.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think I want this.

I've been throwing around the idea with my husband of getting cookbooks that would introduce me to certain types of cooking. Most of the time I've just looked up recipes online or winged it and, while I'm okay at it, I'd like to get away from that for a bit and follow some recipes.

Can anyone tell me if this would be a relatively good introduction to French cooking? I assume so, considering it comes from Dorie. :P

Don't worry, though. I'm picking up Mastering the Art one and two eventually.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Stephanie, I think that's a tough question to answer. I mean, the recipe instructions are wonderfully detailed, there is no doubt that anyone who puts in the time to read through them will be able to make the dishes successfully. But as Dorie mentions above, this is a very "personal" book. It's not a big-picture overview of French Cuisine, or any sort of attempt to teach you the basics of the French kitchen. It's a recipe collection from an accomplished cook and cookbook author living in France.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Dorie - the Mushroom & Shallot tart was really good! Said a friend at the party, "I think you need to bring me savory pies like this all the time."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

i was first in line for the library's copy. since i don't own it i copy out my recipes - there are 18 that i want to "own". i think the most fun for me, though, were the stories about each of the recipes and the other essays - mashed potatoes, beets, cheese, boeuf a la ficelle, "complaining" in the nicest way about a cheese that wasn't quite ripe, etc. the writing was some of the best in general and definitely some of the best food writing i've read...and i've been a librarian for 30 years.

yesterday, during a food shop mainly for nonperishables, farina and golden raisins got added to my list so i can try the caramel-topped semolina cake sometime this week. sent the husband in with a side order of anne leblanc's pistachio avocado. unfortunately the local store didn't have avocado oil so i subbed some walnut oil. the pistachio oil is ordered, though.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I just picked up a copy of this lovely book! Could not resist and with a 40% off coupon and $10 in Borders Cash I only spent $15, can't beat that!

There's a little note inserted with an error correction. In case you did not get that note, here it is:

"In the recipe for Speculoos on page 406, one large egg, at room temperature, was mistakenly omitted. Beat it into the butter-sugar mixture."

Nice touch that the publisher put that note into the book!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I want, want, want this book, but I'm living frugally right now, so I can't buy my own copy. I've been scouting out the library, hoping to be first to reserve it for when it comes in, but can you believe it. . .despite checking the online catalogue daily, when it finally came up, I ended up 12th in line!! That means I still won't get it till about two months after the library receives it! (which also won't be for a couple of months)

Despite that, I've purchased a red kuri squash in anticipation of making Beatrix's Red Kuri Soup. Hopefully it will keep for a few months. . . :biggrin:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Similar Content

    • By DanM
      One of the surprises from our move to Switzerland is the availability of kosher charcuterie. Sausages of all types, confit, mousse, rietttes, etc... One of the recent finds is this block of smoked beef. It has a nice fat layer in the middle. Any thoughts on how to use it? Should I slice it thin and then fry?
       
      Any thoughts would be appreciated.
    • By chefmd
      It's time to get excited about new cookbooks coming out this year.  Hopefully some will also appear on bargain thread.   Here is an article from Food and Wine that lists some of the spring offerings.
      http://www.foodandwine.com/news/cookbooks-spring-2018
    • By ElsieD
      I got an e-mail this morning about the Modernist team's next project - pizza! 
       
      Modernist Pizza is Underway!
      After taking on the world of bread, we’re thrilled to announce the topic of our next book: pizza. Modernist Pizza will explore the science, history, equipment, technology, and people that have made pizza so beloved.

      Authors Nathan Myhrvold and Francisco Migoya, with the Modernist Cuisine team, are currently at work conducting extensive research and testing long-held pizza-making beliefs; this quest for knowledge has already taken them to cities across the United States, Italy, and beyond. The result of their work will be a multivolume cookbook that includes both traditional and innovative recipes for pizzas found around the globe along with techniques that will help you make pizza the way you like it.

      Modernist Pizza is in its early stages, and although we’ve begun to dig in, we still have a lot of work ahead of us. Although we can’t guarantee when it will arrive at your door just yet, we can promise that this book will deliver the complete story of pizza as it’s never been told before.

      In the meantime, we would love to hear from you as we continue to research pizza from around the world. Contact pizza@modernistcuisine.com to tell us about your favorite pizzerias and their pizza. Connect with us on social media to get all the latest Modernist Pizza updates.
    • By boilsover
      Long story, but I have a friend with whom I share a lust for French patisserie in general and kouign aman in particular.  We have another friend, kind of a starry chef in France.  We'd like to surprise our Parisian friend by being at least marginally competent with the kouign the next time we meet up.
       
      I had always heard of a specialty rolling pin called a Tutove (I think it's the name of the manufacturer).  It's supposed to be the Secret Weapon of puff pastry.  The idea is that the pin has grooves/ridges that better place butter into the layers of dough.
       
      So I found one (a real one, made by Tutove) on Ebay at a good price, but I need any basic tips y'all have for using it.  Anyone here use one, or have a resource for how to roll with a Tutove?
       
      Many Thanks!
    • By JoNorvelleWalker
      Tonight I finished Kristen Kish Cooking, Recipes and Techniques.  Alas these are restaurant or competition dishes, and while I would probably enjoy most of them, I saw nothing that I am compelled to cook.  Nor for that matter am competent to cook.  I commend her for sharing them.  I appreciate her definition of culinary terms.  My only gripe is that after assuring us she uses a Packojet at work, her ice cream recipes call for a home ice cream maker.
       
      Kristen moved me.  I was taken by her back story as a gay interracial adoptee.  I can relate to that.
       
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×